August 19, 2015

Meet LAP Founder and Managing Editor Ronald H. Chilcote

Meet LAP Founder and Managing Editor Ronald H. Chilcote

Ronald Chilcote came from an upper-middle-class Republican family that owned a small manufacturing company in Cleveland. His father had attended Dartmouth College, where he became friends with Nelson Rockefeller, and later studied at the Harvard Graduate School of Business. Following family tradition, Ron attended Dartmouth College. It was in that Ivy League institution that Chilcote was introduced to progressive thought during his senior year as a member of the English poetry circle, dedicated to encouraging promising writers, led by Richard Eberhart. Through Eberhart’s seminar, Ron met and studied with Richard Wilbur (then at Smith College), Donald Hall, and Robert Frost, and later, at Stanford, he attended the literature courses of Yvor Winters.

After returning from a prolonged European excursion, he enrolled in Stanford’s business school, received an M.B.A., and experienced an unexpectedly radicalizing period when he was funded to conduct a study of U.S. business in Guatemala and Chile, hitchhiked through other countries, and even visited Cuba on the eve of the revolution.

Exposure to Latin America’s extreme inequality led him to Hilton’s program at Stanford and then into a Ph.D. program in political economy, including studies with Paul Baran. His interest in the roots of Latin American poverty shaped his long-term research agenda, beginning with a doctoral dissertation on Spain and continuing with a book on Portugal and the Portuguese colonies in Africa. This work occurred under the fascist regimes of Franco in Spain and Salazar in Portugal and included a research trip to Angola, where he was arrested by the Portuguese secret police in Luanda and held prisoner and interrogated for ten days. Denied the possibility of returning to Portugal, he turned to Brazil and many years of research and a career as a professor of economics and political science at the University of California, Riverside.

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